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May 28, 2015

Rainey Gaffin

Megan Geer

Ralph Weekly


Florida 7 - Tennessee 2

THE MODERATOR: At this time we're joined by Tennessee head coach Karen Weekly, student-athlete Rainey Gaffin and student-athlete Megan Geer. Coach, an opening comment.

COACH K. WEEKLY: First of all, congratulations to Florida. They played an excellent game. I think you saw the benefit of their experience defending national champions only having lost two players. I think as we talked about in our locker room not a lot of experience on our side, and I think that showed a little bit today. A lot of uncharacteristic mistakes by us that Florida definitely took advantage of. I know our girls are disappointed but I think we'll come back stronger on Saturday.


Q. Megan, could you talk about facing a pitcher like Lauren Haeger, pretty tough day. You got the only hit. Talk about the ball you hit and also just what she's like pitching.
MEGAN GEER: Well, going against Lauren, she's obviously a great pitcher. She just got the National Pitcher of the Year. So props to her. And she came out and she always hits her spots really good. So it was really key to try and lay off the pitcher's pitches and hit my pitch. My pitch that I'm good at. That's kind of what I did. My at-bat I thought she was getting ahead a lot so my second at-bat came up, I decided if the first pitch was going to be there I was going for it.

Q. Both players, it's a long road back now to the winner's bracket to get into a championship series, what's your mindset with sort of an uphill climb?
RAINEY GAFFIN: Just to take every game one game at a time, one pitch at a time, try to get back to Tennessee that we know we are and just execute and just get things done. Just road back, be ready for it.

MEGAN GEER: I think now that we have one game under our belt, I know Karen (Weekly) is talking about the experience. And I agree that it showed that Florida had a lot of experience and we didn't. I think now that we have that one win under our belt we know what to expect. I think we'll come out a lot more prepared next time.

Q. Can you talk about Haeger getting that homer in the first inning and kind of putting them on top and getting the momentum going?
RAINEY GAFFIN: She's a great hitter, two strike at-bat, two outs. She tapped a good pitch. I left it up a little too much and she attacked it. I give her props for that. She was attacking all day.

Q. Rainey and Megan, my hunch is that neither one of you feel like this was a typical Tennessee game today. Just talk about that and what that feels like now and what you do about it?
RAINEY GAFFIN: Like Megan (Geer) said, we've had one player on our team who has been in the World Series before. I think we have a lot of nerves going on the field. We didn't show up like we usually do. I think, how Megan said, that one game under our belt, now we understand what it's like being on the field, what it's like playing with that many people and just let it go and learn it's like every other game that was played this year, and just to play Tennessee softball.

MEGAN GEER: I think we just kind of need to relax and play our game as if we were playing at the home field or something like that, not to get too overwhelmed and not try to do too much. Just go up and put a good swing on a pitch instead of going up and trying to hit home runs or get the game-winner, just do what we've been taught and let the outcome take care of itself.

Q. Rainey, I know you've been playing outfield and pitcher even before college. I was watching when you went back out to right field in the middle of the game, came back, you have done that a lot this year. I'm curious what your mindset is when you have to change gears and even when Erin's pitching, are you looking at the hitters, are you thinking when I go back in I gotta remember this about this hitter, or just playing right field at that point. I'm curious how you are able to transition.
RAINEY GAFFIN: Overall, I think, yeah, I have a tendency to watch hitters, that's how I've been raised. I watch hitters no matter where I am in the field, watch them, watch what they do, see kind of how they hit, swing, the pitch calls. But going to right field I mainly focus on I still cheer for Erin (Gabriel) and focus on having her back, when we switch back and forth. But at this point I'm kind of used to it. Just trying to keep that same mindset that it's just part of the game, just keep in the zone, attacking the zone, and just going back and forth. I'm so used to it, now that it's just part of the game.

Q. Karen, can you talk about the pressure Florida put on you in the late innings with their running game?
COACH K. WEEKLY: Yeah, they certainly did. And we've been pretty good at executing the double steals and defending that. It's something we work on every day in practice. In fact, sometimes as coaches we joke that we work on it a whole lot more than it's ever run against us. So it was surprising from our perspective, and I'm sure from our player's perspective, that we didn't defend that better. But Florida has some -- they're more of a speed team now. Like Tim (Walton) was saying in the press conference yesterday, that's something they've really worked on. And we didn't execute, we just didn't make the plays. With the squeeze bunt, you know, we weren't unprepared for it, because we know that's something that they might do. And we feel like when we have Rainey (Gaffin) on the mound we're in a great place to defend that. And I think that's a play that any other day we're going to make. And we just didn't make the play. Sometimes those things happen.

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